Japan Cup 2008!
When the chance to go to Japan for Ivan's first race back came up, how could I say no? The twelve hour flight followed by two hours of travel from Tokyo to Utsunomia (after an hour long bus transfer) was the small price to pay!
I've been happy to be accompanied by the fine staff of Cannondale Japan. Katsoumi, Hiro and Shoji can be added to the long list of Cannondale employees around the world that I've had the pleasure to work with. They do a great job here, as evidenced by the large number of Cannondales on the road during today's amateur rides and races.
We followed the guys to the race venue for a lap with the public. The course is nice - a closed-off national park with a couple of climbs. Ivan has enjoyed a great reception from the public. We've prepared a special bike (thanks to Lara) for him, which has garnered a lot of attention. After the press conference, he was mobbed by Japanese fans, who are very passionate about Italian cycling. I didn't expect to see guys dressed in full pro team kit, head to toe. We saw a Japanese Bennati, Lance, Danilo in pink... there was even a guy in a Rock Racing jersey!
This afternoon, I did my usual electronics shopping. Utsunomia's mall wasn't nearly as big as that I saw in Seoul (evidently the huge one in Tokyo isn't even as big as Seoul), but I managed to find enough iPod accessories to keep me satisfied for a while.
I've always thought that the written Japanese languages are an amazing art form. I love to see things common to me (Mountain Dew and Apple products) advertised in Japanese. The Mountain Dew cans are HUGE... just my size. Obligatory shot of my morning coffee with my Liquigas iPod Nano and today's playlist - O&A from Wednesday (the Pendulum is swingin' back the other way!).